4-Step Technique to Quiet the Voice of Anxiety when it comes a-knocking…

By Tabasom Eblaghie,
Registered Clinical Counsellor

Anxiety often visits us when things feel like they’re getting out of control.

There are three things we usually try to exert our control over:

1) The situation,
2) The people in our lives,
3) Ourselves.

When many things happen that are beyond our control such as death of a loved one, illness, loss of a relationship or any other significant change in life, which was not of our own choosing, anxiety may come to visit.

Anxiety tells us that we can’t handle the situation. It creates worst-case scenarios, and paints images of failure and loss. It slowly robs us of our courage and strength, and makes us forget about our resilience and moments when we stood tall and proud.

During these moments, there are things one can do:

1) Acknowledge that anxiety exists. Thank it for visiting, without judging “it” (the anxiety) or yourself – it is there, and its presence has been noted;

2) Close your eyes and switch your thought process – remind yourself of three things you are most grateful for today: perhaps the smile on the face of a loved one, a hug from a good friend, a smooth drive to work, a beautiful blue sky, etc;

3) Take yourself to a moment in time when you felt good about what was going on in your life. Were you strong? Courageous? Healthy? Powerful? Come up with three statements about who you truly are, OR would like to be such as “I’m strong”, “I’m healthy”, “I’m powerful”;

4) Take a deep breath into your stomach for a count of four – you should see your stomach protruding and your chest cavity staying still. Hold that breath for a count of four, and then with a slow hissing sound, hiss out the breath for a count of four. With every intake of breath say one of the statements from above – i.e. as you inhale, repeat “I’m strong” – hold that thought, and then hiss out any negative energy, anxiety and fear. Repeat this for as many times as you need with all three statements, until you feel more calm and relaxed.

Anxiety is simply an emotion that visits you. It does not live in you, and is not a part of you. Watch it come and go, as you would watch a small bird flying in and landing on your windowsill. Watch it land, and then watch it fly away.

You are in charge. Allow gratitude and the soft inhale of breath to calm you down, and remind you once again of all of your amazing qualities and talents.

If you’d like more information and tools for dealing with the negative voice of anxiety, please call me at 604-889-3635 to see whether counselling would be the right choice for you at this point in your life. I look forward to speaking with you!